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Does the uncertainity principle imply that certain types of cause and effects cannot be observed by man, or that they do not exist in the first place?

I'm no expert, but from what I know, it's the former. The more you know about an electron's momentum, the less you know about its position. And vice versa. It's more difficult to mathematically calculate one when you know the other.

Edited by Mimpy
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Peikoff's dismissal of the uncertainty principle and quantum mechanics, two theories that are observable and have empirical evidence, seems ignorant and irrational in my view. Can anyone explain this contradiction?

Empirical evidence does not prove a theory, right? It is only one component to induction.

If someone accepts some incorrect aspect of metaphysics in formulating an explanation for empirical evidence, then Peikoff could reject it out of hand, right? In other words if in formulating a theory, I postulated that an apple had to become an orange causelessly in order to explain the phenomena would you not dismiss it out of hand? something that violated A is A, identity? The answer to such a supposition is to dismiss it and say there must be a "real" explanation for the data, i.e. an alternate theory that conforms with reality. This is about the only thing the philosopher can dismiss without actually being a physicist himself.

Heisenberg, Bohr, and ultimately the science of quantum mechanics ultimately refute the characteristic of causality. I'm not a physicist so I can't take you into the details for direct detection of the problem myself, but I would suggest David Harriman's, "The Philosophical Corruption of Physics" to understand Kant's influence on the physics of the late 19th and 20th century. He deals specifically with the development of quantum mechnics.

Also, (I can't believe I'm doing this) you might check out some of Stephen Speicher's posts on The Forum for Ayn Rand's Fans. He is a scientist and has held numerous discussions on the topic.

I'm no expert, but from what I know, it's the former. The more you know about an electron's momentum, the less you know about its position. And vice versa. It's more difficult to calculate mathematically one when you know the other.

If one takes it only to mean that, then one might be safe. However, I do not think all of the implications drawn from the theory contain themselves to that. Quantum mechanics tries to posit that position is a probability function where all states actuallly exist (Schroedingers cat and all...)

Edited by KendallJ
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Now I am no expert in the field, but there is what I like to refer to as "extreme" Quantum Mechanics that states that subatomic particles do not HAVE definite velocities or positions at one one moment (one theory treats them like probability clouds, trying to reducing existence from concretes to a series of mathematical games). That is that somehow subatomic particles are exempt from the Law of Identity.

Various scientists claim to have proven that this is indeed true in various ways, however the fact remains of course that it is not and cannot be true, subatomic particles do have definite velocities and positions, regardless of any "proof" to the contrary.

Then there is the insanity theories illustrated by the Schrondingers Cat thought experiment. Apparently we are to believe that if we put a cat in a box of radiation with a 50/50 chance of radioactively decaying and triggering the release of some poison that will kill the cat (or perhaps the radiation itself could kill the cat), then the cat is alive and dead at the same time. Apparently, until the radiation is observed, the Uncertainty is not resolved, and it is "undetermined" as to whether the radioactive decay has occured, and it in fact it is in some "juxaposition "of states, leading to a situation where it has both decayed and not decayed, therefore the cat is both alive and dead etc etc.

I.e. so in short the subatomic events are somehow reliant on observation..which sounds too much like the old Primacy of Consciousness nightmare to me...i.e. that human conscious somehow determines reality, or whether things definetly happen in this case. I would think it would be obvious to them that subatomic particles do whatever they do independent of observation, however apparently not.

It seems to me that they have some complex data, which they do not understand, so are grasping at some rather fairy-like straws and forgetting the foundations of their own field....

Edited by Prometheus98876
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Well one thing's for certain -- in the realm of a quantum physics question, I'm gonna have to side Hawking over Peikoff. I mean come on guys -- not only do 95% of us have slim to no relevant knowledge in the shadow of hawking or peikoff's debate, you could say the same about peikoff in hawking's shadow.

And this leads in to a pet peeve of mine with a lot of objectivists, Yaron Brooks and Leonard Peikoff included. Everything is attempted to be boiled down in short, simple, "Ayn Rand"-ian phrases. Anytime I read any statement by either of these men, I could've sworn I'd read half of their essay/statement in a Rand book somewhere. Peikoff said, "the traditional Newtonian-Einsteinian view of a universe fully accesible to man's mind is outdated, inasmuch as the subatomic realm is ruled not by cause and effect, but ultimately by chance" Alright I get it, we stand for cause and effect, justice, etc, etc, but we cannot boil every single complicated, intricate debate into page 376 line 23 in Atlas Shrugged, or something of the sort.

Branching off of that, I believe a lot of times objectivists reject what we immediately believe to be pure chance, chaos, collectivism, when really it is much more in depth and ultimately in tune with our beliefs. If we claim our philosophy is one based on man's ability to have a clear perspective on a rational reality and act accordingly based upon his own value system and ultimate goal of happiness, then when the leading physicist of our generation is embarking and exploring in the most radical, revolutionary field of physics, modern quantum mechanics, we should praise his efforts in order to see even clearer how our philosophy is represented even in the smallest string. If it is NOT, and the basic threads of human life are proven to be mainly chance, coincidence, or chaos, we must either attempt to reconcile our philosophy or reject objectivism as a flawed perspective of reality and evolve. We are searchers for truth and reality before we are "objectivists;" if reality is not what Rand believed it to be, the primary focus should be to understand reality, not pervert it until it becomes objectivist.

This quick jump to stating that quantum mechanics, string theory, etc, etc, are inherently false is a revelation of fear that these scientific breakthroughs might rattle the foundations of a philosophy we believe to be the most in tune with reality. If we truly believe in Objectivism, we should stay clear of making science the effect of our objectivist cause, but objectivism the philosophical effect to science.

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Robert, I understand where you're coming from, though I believe you're mistaken; but, that's the subject for a separate thread.

As for the current topic, it really isn't clear what you agree or disagree with. What exactly does Hawkings say is true that Peikoff says is false?

Edited by softwareNerd
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Right, most of us might not be 'experts"in the field, nor was Peikoff, he was a philosopher not a scientist. However that is hardly an argument that can defend some of the clearly absurb claims QM makes that are a blatant denial of the Law of Identity and such. Claiming that someone else expertise is an argument is rather cowardly not to mention futile. Someones apparent expertise is not an argument. I could claim to be an expert on Splunge Theory, and that if you disagree with me, I am right because I am "more of an expert" however that does not mean Splunge Theory makes sense, same applies to QM.

Ok put down the straw man, the fact that we recite Rand etc so often is not what really what you have an issue with. The issue is I suspect that you know you do not have a leg to stand on, so you seeking to make any attack you can on any statement which attempts to prove that you do indeed have no leg to stand on. It is hardly proper to state Ayn Rands formulation of the truth or our own really, as long as we make the correct point in a correct manner, you just dont want us to say that you are wrong. But sorry, I am not taking part in your evasion.

Do yourself a favour, do not call yourself an Objectivist, I do think you are one. You seem to me to be rejecting certain fundamental Objectivist principles, such as causality, in favor of some mysticism like this QM randomness nonsense. Correct me if I am wrong...

Fear that they might prove to be true? No, not really, something that contradicts primary facts of reality cannot be true, no matter what proof any scientist might claim to have for to support it. Objectivists seek to keep their thoughts in line with reality, by looking at reality first, forming logical chains of concepts and then judging any claims such as those made by QM accordingly. Science is not a "cause" it is something to be evaluated rationally, and for us all to decide whether it is right or wrong, based on our knowledge of reality. QM is no exception, it should be judged rationally, and if one does so they should find that it is largely false, not due to prejudice to what you imply is an arbitary choosen philosophy and its teachings, but by the fact that its claims are largely WRONG.

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Then there is the insanity theories illustrated by the Schrondingers Cat thought experiment. Apparently we are to believe that if we put a cat in a box of radiation with a 50/50 chance of radioactively decaying and triggering the release of some poison that will kill the cat (or perhaps the radiation itself could kill the cat), then the cat is alive and dead at the same time. Apparently, until the radiation is observed, the Uncertainty is not resolved, and it is "undetermined" as to whether the radioactive decay has occured, and it in fact it is in some "juxaposition "of states, leading to a situation where it has both decayed and not decayed, therefore the cat is both alive and dead etc etc.

Actually Schrondinger intended to disprove the Uncertaintity Principle with his cat. He thought, "I'll use something absolutely ridiculous that noone will believe as an example of what the Uncertaintity Principle says." He figured if he done that people would get the point. But he underestimated how blind some people choose to be. They hijacked it and took it to mean something other than what it really means. This enraged Schrodinger. In conclusion, the insanity lay in the minds of the hijackers not Schrodinger.

It seems to me that they have some complex data, which they do not understand, so are grasping at some rather fairy-like straws and forgetting the foundations of their own field....

Indeed. It is rather obvious really.

Ok put down the straw man, the fact that we recite Rand etc so often is not what really what you have an issue with. The issue is I suspect that you know you do not have a leg to stand on, so you seeking to make any attack you can on any statement which attempts to prove that you do indeed have no leg to stand on. It is hardly proper to state Ayn Rands formulation of the truth or our own really, as long as we make the correct point in a correct manner, you just dont want us to say that you are wrong. But sorry, I am not taking part in your evasion.

Nor I am I. That is why, with the exception of this, I have not replied to your comments. And I suspect the same holds for most full and student Objectivists here.

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Indeed. It is rather obvious really.

Nor I am I. That is why, with the exception of this, I have not replied to your comments. And I suspect the same holds for most full and student Objectivists here.

I know what he tried to do, however what the thought experiment claims is still the same, even if he meant to use it to save physics from itself.

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I know what he tried to do, however what the thought experiment claims is still the same, even if he meant to use it to save physics from itself.

I think i should clarify, the, "Nor I am I. That is why, with the exception of this, I have not replied to your comments. And I suspect the same holds for most full and student Objectivists here," part of my post was meant for Robert, not you.

Oh, and I am glad you realise that and I agree that is still says that even if he only meant it as derogatory proof against them.

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The Uncertainty Principle makes sense if you think about it correctly. Problem is, most modern physicists don't. The basic gist of the Uncertainty Principle is that there are pairs of variables where measuring one affects the other. Because they're so small, fundamental particles are affected by the act of measuring. In order to measure a tiny tiny particle, you have to throw another tiny tiny particle at it and see what happens to the one you threw. But because the particle you're measuring and the particle you're throwing are relatively the same size, you've changed something about your first particle. Rough example: taking the temperature of the water in a thimble with an ice cold thermometer will change the temperature of that small volume. The Uncertainty Principle, properly understood, merely says that measuring can affect the thing being measured. Essentially, because there are no things smaller than quanta, there is a limit to the resolution with which the universe allows interactions between particles to take place. So the universe appears to be quantized.

The problem arises when physicists try to work with data they don't have. They try to formulate a mathematical system whereby they can get past the uncertainty and go about their business. But they make the mistake of treating the absence of information as of equal value to the presence of information. They interpret their physical inability to measure certain variable pairs accurately as a statement about the true nature of the universe. Because they can't measure position accurately, then the particle must not have a definite position at all, but rather some mathematical, statistical probability matrix, or perhaps it exists in all possible places at the same time, but in different universes. Some go so far to say that, because no measuring system of sufficient resolution to measure the particle without interfering with it can be contemplated within the current framework of fundamental physics, measurement is synonymous with observation is synonymous with existence, making explicit the underlying primacy-of-consciousness premise underpinning the whole Copenhagen Interpretation.

Such physicists do not have a rational philosophy, so it follows that their interpretation of experimental results will also not be rational. The Copenhagen Interpretation all but explicitly professes that reason is inapplicable to quantum (small-scale) physics. It is this irrational interpretation with which Dr. Peikoff disagrees. Heisenberg and Bohr developed this interpretation, hence Peikoff's animosity towards Heisenberg. Nothing of Dr. Peikoff's has ever lead me to believe that he seriously disputed the experimental results. Because Heisenberg (and those physicists operating in his vein) held the final say on what his own principle meant, the phrase "Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle" only really has meaning within the Copenhagen Interpretation, and although it started from the simple analysis given above, its meaning has been "evolved" into something that can only be viewed through an irrational metaphysics. This explains Dr. Peikoff's apparent displeasure with the Principle.

-Q

PS: What Prometheus98876 refers to as "extreme" quantum mechanics is the Copenhagen Interpretation, and is the dominant interpretation of quantum experimental data.

EDIT: Repaired BBCode, clarified 2nd paragraph.

Edited by Qwertz
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Qwertz, what do you mean by "variables"? If you mean what I think you mean, you have a good point, but if you mean another meaning I thought of, but am not sure if you meant and hope you didn't, then you don't.

But certainly, Prometheus 98876, has a good point with his statement about "extreme Quantum mechanics". Another example of that (to add to his Schrodinger's Cat one) is the Many Worlds Interpretation.

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Oh yes, The Copenhagen Interpretation, I knew there was another term for what I wanted I could not recall it.

Yes Qwertz you have it right there. It comes down to as you say the fact that scientists do not know how to intrept their data so resort to mysticism. The worst of which is arguably MWI, trying to explain away what they cannot explain in this universe with other universes, a total evasion of this world for some other one, an attempt to say "I don't know it, and look I cant anyway as the answer is in some other impenetrable realm". I cannot think of much as mystical as that...

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Yes Qwertz you have it right there. It comes down to as you say the fact that scientists do not know how to intrept their data so resort to mysticism. The worst of which is arguably MWI, trying to explain away what they cannot explain in this universe with other universes, a total evasion of this world for some other one, an attempt to say "I don't know it, and look I cant anyway as the answer is in some other impenetrable realm". I cannot think of much as mystical as that...

Hence my listing it as another example of what you said about "extreme QM".

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By "variables," I meant data points. Like position and momentum. Position is a variable you can't measure with any accuracy if you're measuring momentum, because measuring the momentum changes the position. You can only measure the position after you've changed it by measuring the momentum, in which case it's not the same as it was before, and so has no relevance to your earlier data. I didn't mean a data point that could be anything, or could have multiple different simultaneous values.

MWI vs. CI is like Republicans vs. Democrats. One surreptitiously undermines, the other does it blatantly. MWI acknowledges the value of a deterministic universe (meaning: a universe where particles have definite identities), but formulates a platform whereby the whole of existence is made indeterminate. Kind of like how the Republicans acknowledge the value of capitalism, but formulate a platform whereby the country is plunged headlong into the icy depths of socialism. MWI tries to make itself look deterministic, but really its just hiding the indeterminism somewhere else.

My point is, it's kind of a toss-up as to who's worse. <grin>

-Q

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<quote>

MWI vs. CI is like Republicans vs. Democrats. One surreptitiously undermines, the other does it blatantly. MWI acknowledges the value of a deterministic universe (meaning: a universe where particles have definite identities), but formulates a platform whereby the whole of existence is made indeterminate. Kind of like how the Republicans acknowledge the value of capitalism, but formulate a platform whereby the country is plunged headlong into the icy depths of socialism. MWI tries to make itself look deterministic, but really its just hiding the indeterminism somewhere else.

My point is, it's kind of a toss-up as to who's worse. <grin>

-Q

Oh yeah its pretty damn nasty stuff. Do you mind if I borrow that comparison/etc for an article I want to write about that?

Edited by Prometheus98876
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By "variables," I meant data points.

I thought as much. I was hoping you didn't mean the other one: random factors. To quote Einstein, "God doesn't play dice." I take an issue with his use of the word, "God," but I agree with his point. I am glad you didn't mean randomk factors.

I didn't mean a data point that could be anything, or could have multiple different simultaneous values.

Good. That is a common error among physicists these dfays.

MWI vs. CI is like Republicans vs. Democrats. One surreptitiously undermines, the other does it blatantly. MWI acknowledges the value of a deterministic universe (meaning: a universe where particles have definite identities), but formulates a platform whereby the whole of existence is made indeterminate. Kind of like how the Republicans acknowledge the value of capitalism, but formulate a platform whereby the country is plunged headlong into the icy depths of socialism. MWI tries to make itself look deterministic, but really its just hiding the indeterminism somewhere else.

Indeed. That is why I don't like the MWI.

My point is, it's kind of a toss-up as to who's worse. <grin>

Well, i'd say both are really bad either way.

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Claiming that someone else expertise is an argument is rather cowardly not to mention futile. Someones apparent expertise is not an argument. I could claim to be an expert on Splunge Theory, and that if you disagree with me, I am right because I am "more of an expert" however that does not mean Splunge Theory makes sense, same applies to QM.

I'm neither saying that his expertise is the reason he is right, nor that he is even right! I was expressing my frustration with Peikoff approaching Hawking and QM like it's some purely philosophical debate. That somehow, no matter how much support, evidence (this is arguable, but strong theory let's say), or scientific discoveries Hawking witnesses and is deep in the thick of it all, that Peikoff can argue him out of the end result or even the most supported conclusion.

Ok put down the straw man, the fact that we recite Rand etc so often is not what really what you have an issue with. The issue is I suspect that you know you do not have a leg to stand on, so you seeking to make any attack you can on any statement which attempts to prove that you do indeed have no leg to stand on. It is hardly proper to state Ayn Rands formulation of the truth or our own really, as long as we make the correct point in a correct manner, you just dont want us to say that you are wrong. But sorry, I am not taking part in your evasion.

The only "issue" here is exactly what I said. If when you mean I have no leg to stand on to take a side on the issue, you're right; I am not qualified to address the physics of the discussion, so I stay clear. I used this debate, however, as evidence of problems I have found with objectivists and objectivism that I am trying to work out, and that I believe are ultimately more important than this specific debate. The vocabulary of objectivists frustrates me because half of it is pretty much exactly from Rand's mouth. True, they are her ideas and I give her all the credit in the world for them, BUT it is a symptom of what bothers me and comes out in the next paragraph, which is that I believe objectivism has a natural resistance to change. And I'm talking about productive, real, beneficial change. I think our world and our perception of it through science can evolve and must, and that someday something will be presented where we will have to push ourselves to see how this new development DOES again prove objectivism. My point was that I do believe objectivism is completely true, but that it cannot become a QM vs. Objectivism, but working together to discover either that QM is inherently wrong, which requires a lot more time and effort, or that QM is onto something, and when physicists and objectivists understand it enough, the two will eventually come together in harmony.

Do yourself a favour, do not call yourself an Objectivist, I do think you are one. You seem to me to be rejecting certain fundamental Objectivist principles, such as causality, in favor of some mysticism like this QM randomness nonsense. Correct me if I am wrong...

You're wrong. I am not in the least rejecting fundamental objectivist and never in my post said anything about favoring mysticism. What I said was that what we believe to be mysticism at the beginning might end up, at a deeper level of understanding, to again support objectivist thought and theory. That our instincts and limited knowledge of the QM field shouldn't limit us to see how actually this could all play into objectivism and just be a new, innovative understanding of objectivism. I think overall, my problem is that I don't see any room for improvement on Rand. Was she perfect? Was her philosophy perfect? Like most of you, we would say "Close to it," but not only is the probability that no evolution will ever be made in objectivism slim, then that means Ayn Rand was the last true philosopher. That's like the guy I talked about in the "NYT article on Rand" stating Socrates was the greatest philosopher and everyone else a footnote. We're certainly empowered by these men and women, and through our respect of them, attempt to build upon and create radically new ideas through it, which doesn't imply a rejection of objectivism but an expanding of, a contribution towards an even more complete objectivism. Which does NOT change key axioms of objectivism, but expands how objectivism covers an even broader range of complex topics that may eventually seem like it and objectivism don't get along, but that ultimately they do.

And please, don't get personal. It's embarassing. I certainly do not care whether you believe I'm an objectivist or not, especially when you not only misunderstood my post, but also instead of attempting to understand like "softwareNerd," felt it necessary to make personal, intentionally hurtful comments. There was no hurt, but the intention is quite disturbing. Wondering how a misunderstanding of a post or even a post, period, could render such an aggressive attack and harsh statements.

Objectivists seek to keep their thoughts in line with reality, by looking at reality first, forming logical chains of concepts and then judging any claims such as those made by QM accordingly. Science is not a "cause" it is something to be evaluated rationally, and for us all to decide whether it is right or wrong, based on our knowledge of reality. QM is no exception, it should be judged rationally...

Yes objectivists look at reality and make conclusions, but what reality? Our day to day reality? Hawking is looking at things none of us will have the chance to at the subatomic level, and that level of reality is looking strikingly odd right now. I have a problem thinking that objectivism will never expand, evolve, and that there is a philosophy and philosopher that has already attained perfection on this earth. I'm saying that there may be things out there we BELIEVE to be mystical, when actually they ARE reality, and DO support objectivism! We just don't understand it to the depth necessary to understand how it ultimately falls in line with the axioms we all support.

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I believe objectivism has a natural resistance to change. And I'm talking about productive, real, beneficial change.

With due respect, Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand (and Objectivism is capitalized). By definition it cannot have changed since her death in 1982. As for you, you are free to make whatever changes you find productive, real, and beneficial to your personal philosophy, which would not then be Objectivism. I'm not sure why you're attached to Rand though. If you don't like Objectivism, that's your business, but then why hang around here? I am pretty sure that this is a forum for discussing Objectivism, not other philosophies.

Edited by softwareNerd
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To me the whole name, "The Uncertainty Principle," implies a lack of belief in certainty in relation to reality.

I think a lot needs to be cleared up about what the Uncertainty Principle actually is. The Uncertainty Principle doesn't contradict the Law of Identity or causualty. All that the Uncertainty Principle says is that, at this current point in time, we cannot measure extremely small particles accurately because using a photon to find out the position and velocity of another particle will necessarily have to distort this measurement. It does not say that these particles do not have an absolute, objective identity, just that our measurement cannot be accurate. At least that's my interpretation of the Uncertainty Principle from reading A Brief History of Time.

Even if we can never measure particles accurately in the span of human time, wouldn't this be our reality? Wouldn't the fact that we can't measure the particle accurately be an objective absolute in itself? Even Ayn Rand said that our sense-perception mechanism is limited and reaches a ceiling (crow epistemology anyone?), so the fact that we wouldn't be able to measure the particle accurately would not in itself contradict Objectivst metaphysics and epistemology correct?

From my point of view, Peikoff seems to be expressing a kind of "primacy of consciousness" himself. He says in effect that because everything has an identity and because humans have the ability to reason that we should necessarily have the ability to observe the workings and mechanics of the universe. But man is not omniscient; he cannot know everything about the universe and Ayn Rand even acknowledged as much, only a "god" has the power of omniscience. I think that Peikoff irrationally and casually dismisses the Uncertainty Principle. Instead of looking at the facts and at the evidence (that we cannot identify both the absolute positions and velocities of a particle at the same time) and drawing conclusions from there, he offhandly dissmisses the scientific evidence and imposes his own "prejudices" as to what reality should be i.e. we should be able to identify the consituents of the universe at all places and at all times.

I hope I'm wrong. Which brings up another subject. Is one not an Objectivist or is one irrational if one disagrees with Leonard Peikoff? Is one irrational if one disagrees with Ayn Rand (I know you wouldn't be an Objectivist)?

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With due respect, Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand (and Objectivism is capitalized). By definition it cannot have changed since her death in 1982. As for you, you are free to make whatever changes you find productive, real, and beneficial to your personal philosophy, which would not then be Objectivism. I'm not sure why you're attached to Rand though. If you don't like Objectivism, that's your business, but then why hang around here? I am pretty sure that this is a forum for discussing Objectivism, not other philosophies.

Haha where, once, have I ever expressed that I dislike Objectivism? I think a small clarification would help -- I am not denying

anything about Objectivism, nothing at all. All I am saying is that naturally, the scope of objectivism is limited by the years its existed, and as a philosophy on life, will have to explain life in whatever route it takes. With QM, we will be able to apply Objectivism to much harder, less black-and-white situations, and that as QM becomes a more evolved science, we will all start realizing that it also falls perfectly into the philosophy we all hold dear and is not an opposite to Objectivism. That is the growth I'm talking about -- not changing her tenents, but being able to apply that philosophy to even more evolved levels of thinking as we as a human race make progress. Rand might've come close to perfection, but we have not, and there may be fallacies in our perception of both QM and Objectivism, thinking they're inherently opposite but as we collect more and more information, make some breakthrough and be able to understand both QM and Objectivism even clearer. That's the resistance to change I'm referring to and the way we can help Objectivism evolve in its scope, not in changing its fundamental axioms.

From my point of view, Peikoff seems to be expressing a kind of "primacy of consciousness" himself. He says in effect that because everything has an identity and because humans have the ability to reason that we should necessarily have the ability to observe the workings and mechanics of the universe. But man is not omniscient; he cannot know everything about the universe and Ayn Rand even acknowledged as much, only a "god" has the power of omniscience. I think that Peikoff irrationally and casually dismisses the Uncertainty Principle. Instead of looking at the facts and at the evidence (that we cannot identify both the absolute positions and velocities of a particle at the same time) and drawing conclusions from there, he offhandly dissmisses the scientific evidence and imposes his own "prejudices" as to what reality should be i.e. we should be able to identify the consituents of the universe at all places and at all times.

I hope I'm wrong. Which brings up another subject. Is one not an Objectivist or is one irrational if one disagrees with Leonard Peikoff? Is one irrational if one disagrees with Ayn Rand (I know you wouldn't be an Objectivist)?

Exactly. This is exactly my point. Well put, this is just the dilemma I'm dealing with, but you expressed it much better than me. I seem to have gotten many people confused and frustrated by my inability at expressing what you just did.

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True, they are her ideas and I give her all the credit in the world for them, BUT it is a symptom of what bothers me and comes out in the next paragraph, which is that I believe objectivism has a natural resistance to change.

Rubish! It does not! I have known many Objectivists to, say for example, welcome in technological advances. That is a change of sorts. I have also known them to, say for example, welcome in discoveries of new man-made componds. The only "change" Objectivists resist is ones that violate rights and contradicts reality.

My point was that I do believe objectivism is completely true, but that it cannot become a QM vs. Objectivism, but working together to discover either that QM is inherently wrong, which requires a lot more time and effort, or that QM is onto something, and when physicists and objectivists understand it enough, the two will eventually come together in harmony.

The point has been, and still is, a case of Objectivists vs irrational QM (read: QM theories that contradict reality). Take the MWI and Schrodinger's Cat theories meantioned above. That is the sort of thing we don't like. We don't need to be scientists to know those two are rubbish. Those things in no way support Objectivism and are definitely msytical.

which doesn't imply a rejection of objectivism but an expanding of, a contribution towards an even more complete objectivism.

Ayn Rand is dead so Objectivism cannot be "made more complete". With Rand dead it is as complete as it can be. Even if something "more complete" arises it wouldn't be Objectivism.

I certainly do not care whether you believe I'm an objectivist or not

And so you shouldn't.

With due respect, Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand (and Objectivism is capitalized). By definition it cannot have changed since her death in 1982. As for you, you are free to make whatever changes you find productive, real, and beneficial to your personal philosophy, which would not then be Objectivism.

Exactly. Whether Objectivism is right or wrong it cannot be changed, expanded, or shrunk.

Edited by softwareNerd
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I'd like to briefly and directly address these two quotes from your first post:

This quantum will disturb the particle and change its velocity in a way that cannot be predicted.
[T]he subatomic realm is ruled not by cause and effect, but ultimately by chance...

Piekoff's description accurately describes the Copenhagen Interpretation. Hawking's accurately describes a consequence of the fact that there's nothing smaller than a quantum. When Hawking says that the change "cannot be predicted," he means that there is no way to acquire enough accurate information about the particle in order to make an informed prediction. Hawking does not here endorse the Copenhagen Interpretation by claiming that, because such accurate information is not obtainable, the universe is therefore ruled by chance. Hawking is not saying that because it cannot be predicted, it is therefore random.

Peikoff objects to the "chance," not the "unpredictability." Were the information available, Peikoff (and perhaps Hawking) would say "now we can predict." But because there is nothing smaller than quanta that can carry information, there's no way to get the information. It's not really "locked off" or "unknowable," there's just no way to get at it. Yet. Perhaps a more developed theory, supplemented with additional understanding from experimental data, will one day allow us to make those measurements and the predictions they would allow. Peikoff's objection is merely that the Copenhagen physicists reject the idea that there is any information there at all.

Peikoff dismisses the Uncertainty Principle as described by Copenhagen physicists. Hawkings BHOT description of the Principle is not the CI description of the principle. However, Copenhagen (Heisenberg himself developed the interpretation) holds a 'patent' on the Principle, and Copenhagen gets to say what the Principle is. When people say "Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle," they mean the Copenhagen definition, not the one Hawking lists (the Einstein-deBroglie relations), so when Peikoff says [paraphrasing] "the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is hooey," he means the CI meaning, not Hawking's (or Einstein's or deBroglie's).

The stuff about Objectivism as a closed system is probably the stuff for another thread (I think there have been quite a few), but I did want to say that it is not true that one is irrational because one disagrees with Rand. One is irrational because one holds and operates on a false premise. In fact, it is quite possible to disagree with Rand (specifically, on any number of issues on which she spoke or wrote very little, or specified were undeveloped opinions and not expressly part of her philosophy) without relying on a false premise. However, Rand also did a very good job of validating her premises.

-Q

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With QM, we will be able to apply Objectivism to much harder, less black-and-white situations, and that as QM becomes a more evolved science, we will all start realizing that it also falls perfectly into the philosophy we all hold dear and is not an opposite to Objectivism.
The evidence from QM experiments cannot disprove existence, or causation, or identity. The concepts of evidence and proof depend on them. In this situation, the philosophy wins, because the science wouldn't be possible without it. You can't use existence (e.g. the results of a delayed choice quantum eraser experiment) to unmake existence (e.g. the fact that existents have definite, "black and white" identities). Edited by softwareNerd
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